Two-photon fluorescence microscopy observation of shape changes at the phase transition in phospholipid giant unilamellar vesicles.
Using the sectioning effect of the two-photon fluorescence microscope, we studied the behavior of phospholipid giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) composed of pure diacylphosphatidylcholine phospholipids during the gel-to-liquid crystalline phase transition. We used the well-characterized excitation generalized polarization function (GP(ex)) of 6-dodecanoyl-2-dimethylamine-naphthalene (LAURDAN), which is sensitive to the changes in water content in the lipid vesicles, to monitor the phase transition in the GUVs. Even though the vesicles do not show temperature hysteresis at the main phase transition, we observed different behaviors of the vesicle shape, depending on how the GUV sample reaches the main phase transition. During the cooling cycles, we observed an increase in the vesicle diameter at the phase transition ( approximately 0.5-1%), followed by a decrease in the diameter when the vesicle reached the gel phase. During the heating cycles and close to the phase transition temperature, a surprising behavior is observed, showing a sequence of different vesicle shapes as follows: spherical-polygonal-ellipsoidal. We attribute these changes to the effect of lipid domain coexistence on the macroscopic structure of the GUVs. The "shape hysteresis" in the GUVs is reversible and largely independent of the temperature scan rate. In the presence of 30 mol% of cholesterol the events observed at the phase transition in the GUVs formed by pure phospholipids were absent. (+info)
Hydration of lipoplexes commonly used in gene delivery: follow-up by laurdan fluorescence changes and quantification by differential scanning calorimetry.
Lipoplexes, which are formed spontaneously between cationic liposomes and negatively charged nucleic acids, are commonly used for gene and oligonucleotide delivery in vitro and in vivo. Being assemblies, lipoplexes can be characterized by various physicochemical parameters, including size distribution, shape, physical state (lamellar, hexagonal type II and/or other phases), sign and magnitude of electrical surface potential, and level of hydration at the lipid-DNA interface. Only after all these variables will be characterized for lipoplexes with a broad spectrum of lipid compositions and DNA/cationic lipid (L(+)) mole (or charge) ratios can their relevance to transfection efficiency be understood. Of all these physicochemical parameters, hydration is the most neglected, and therefore the focus of this study. Cationic liposomes composed of DOTAP without and with helper lipids (DOPC, DOPE, or cholesterol) or of DC-Chol/DOPE were complexed with pDNA (S16 human growth hormone) at various DNA(-)/L(+) charge ratios (0.1-3.2). (DOTAP=N-(1-(2,3-dioleoyloxy)propyl)-N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride; DC-Chol=(3beta-[N-(N',N'-dimethylaminoethane)-carbamoyl]-cholester ol; DOPC=1, 2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine; DOPE=1, 2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine). The hydration levels of the different cationic liposomes and the DNA separately are compared with the hydration levels of the lipoplexes. Two independent approaches were applied to study hydration. First, we used a semi-quantitative approach of determining changes in the 'generalized polarization' (GP) of laurdan (6-dodecanoyl-2-dimethylaminonaphthalene). This method was recently used extensively and successfully to characterize changes of hydration at lipid-water interfaces. Laurdan excitation GP at 340 nm (GP(340)DOTAP. The GP(340) of lipoplexes of all lipid compositions (except those based on DC-Chol/DOPE) was higher than the GP(340) of the cationic liposomes alone and increased with increasing DNA(-)/L(+) charge ratio, reaching a plateau at a charge ratio of 1. 0, suggesting an increase in dehydration at the lipid-water interface with increasing DNA(-)/L(+) charge ratio. Confirmation was obtained from the second method, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). DOTAP/DOPE lipoplexes with charge ratio 0.44 had 16.5% dehydration and with charge ratio 1.5, 46.4% dehydration. For DOTAP/Chol lipoplexes with these charge ratios, there was 17.9% and 49% dehydration, respectively. These data are in good agreement with the laurdan data described above. They suggest that the dehydration occurs during lipoplex formation and that this is a prerequisite for the intimate contact between cationic lipids and DNA. (+info)
Two photon fluorescence microscopy of coexisting lipid domains in giant unilamellar vesicles of binary phospholipid mixtures.
Images of giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) formed by different phospholipid mixtures (1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine/1, 2-dilauroyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC/DLPC) 1:1 (mol/mol), and 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine/1, 2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPE/DPPC), 7:3 and 3:7 (mol/mol) at different temperatures were obtained by exploiting the sectioning capability of a two-photon excitation fluorescence microscope. 6-Dodecanoyl-2-dimethylamino-naphthalene (LAURDAN), 6-propionyl-2-dimethylamino-naphthalene (PRODAN), and Lissamine rhodamine B 1,2-dihexadecanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (N-Rh-DPPE) were used as fluorescent probes to reveal domain coexistence in the GUVs. We report the first characterization of the morphology of lipid domains in unsupported lipid bilayers. From the LAURDAN intensity images the excitation generalized polarization function (GP) was calculated at different temperatures to characterize the phase state of the lipid domain. On the basis of the phase diagram of each lipid mixture, we found a homogeneous fluorescence distribution in the GUV images at temperatures corresponding to the fluid region in all lipid mixtures. At temperatures corresponding to the phase coexistence region we observed lipid domains of different sizes and shapes, depending on the lipid sample composition. In the case of GUVs formed by DPPE/DPPC mixture, the gel DPPE domains present different shapes, such as hexagonal, rhombic, six-cornered star, dumbbell, or dendritic. At the phase coexistence region, the gel DPPE domains are moving and growing as the temperature decreases. Separated domains remain in the GUVs at temperatures corresponding to the solid region, showing solid-solid immiscibility. A different morphology was found in GUVs composed of DLPC/DPPC 1:1 (mol/mol) mixtures. At temperatures corresponding to the phase coexistence, we observed the gel domains as line defects in the GUV surface. These lines move and become thicker as the temperature decreases. As judged by the LAURDAN GP histogram, we concluded that the lipid phase characteristics at the phase coexistence region are different between the DPPE/DPPC and DLPC/DPPC mixtures. In the DPPE/DPPC mixture the coexistence is between pure gel and pure liquid domains, while in the DLPC/DPPC 1:1 (mol/mol) mixture we observed a strong influence of one phase on the other. In all cases the domains span the inner and outer leaflets of the membrane, suggesting a strong coupling between the inner and outer monolayers of the lipid membrane. This observation is also novel for unsupported lipid bilayers. (+info)
Interaction of oligonucleotides with cationic lipids: the relationship between electrostatics, hydration and state of aggregation.
Lipoplexes, which are spontaneously formed complexes between oligonucleotide (ODN) and cationic lipid, can be used to deliver ODNs into cells, both in vitro and in vivo. The present study was aimed at characterizing the interactions associated with the formation of lipoplexes, specifically in terms of electrostatics, hydration and particle size. Large unilamellar vesicles (approximately 100 nm diameter), composed of either DOTAP, DOTAP/cholesterol (mole ratio 1:1) or DOTAP/DOPE (mole ratio 1:1) were employed as a model of cationic liposomes. Neutral vesicles ( approximately 100 nm diameter), composed of DOPC/DOPE (mole ratio 1:1), were employed as control liposomes. After ODN addition to vesicles, at different mole ratios, changes in pH and electrical surface potential at the lipid-water interface were analyzed by using the fluorophore heptadecyl-7-hydroxycoumarin. In separate 'mirror image' experiments, liposomes were added at different mole ratios to fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled ODNs, thus yielding data about changes in the pH near the ODN molecules induced by the complexation with the cationic lipid. Particle size distribution and turbidity fluctuations were analyzed by the use of photon correlation spectroscopy and static light-scattering, respectively. In additional fluorescent probe studies, TMADPH was used to quantify membrane defects while laurdan was used to measure the level of hydration at the water-lipid interface. The results indicate that mutual neutralization of cationic lipids by ODNs and vice versa is a spontaneous reaction and that this neutralization is the main driving force for lipoplex generation. When lipid neutralization is partial, induced membrane defects cause the lipoplexes to exhibit increased size instability. (+info)
Specialized fatty acid synthesis in African trypanosomes: myristate for GPI anchors.
African trypanosomes, the cause of sleeping sickness, need massive amounts of myristate to remodel glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors on their surface glycoproteins. However, it has been believed that the parasite is unable to synthesize any fatty acids, and myristate is not abundant in the hosts' bloodstreams. Thus, it has been unclear how trypanosomes meet their myristate requirement. Here we found that they could indeed synthesize fatty acids. The synthetic pathway was unique in that the major product, myristate, was preferentially incorporated into GPIs and not into other lipids. The antibiotic thiolactomycin inhibited myristate synthesis and killed the parasite, making this pathway a potential chemotherapeutic target. (+info)
Equivalence of lauric acid and glycerol monolaurate as inhibitors of signal transduction in Staphylococcus aureus.
Glycerol monolaurate (GML) inhibits the expression of virulence factors in Staphylococus aureus and the induction of vancomycin resistance in Enterococcus faecalis, presumably by blocking signal transduction. Although GML is rapidly hydrolyzed by bacteria, one of the products, lauric acid, has identical inhibitory activity and is metabolized much more slowly. At least four distinct GML-hydrolyzing activities are identified in S. aureus: the secreted Geh lipase, residual supernatant activity in a geh-null mutant strain, a novel membrane-bound esterase, and a cytoplasmic activity. (+info)
Fluorescence studies of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in its membrane environment.
Since the discovery of the fraction of immobilized lipid in contact with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR), the lipid-belt region around this protein has become the focus of a variety of biophysical studies aimed at defining its properties. Here we summarize recent spectroscopic studies from our laboratory using Laurdan fluorescence to characterize distinct sites for lipids and to describe their effect on the AChR microenvironment. (+info)
Thermogenic responses in brown fat cells are fully UCP1-dependent. UCP2 or UCP3 do not substitute for UCP1 in adrenergically or fatty scid-induced thermogenesis.
To examine the thermogenic significance of the classical uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1), the thermogenic potential of brown adipocytes isolated from UCP1-ablated mice was investigated. Ucp1(-/-) cells had a basal metabolic rate identical to wild-type; the mitochondria within them were coupled to the same degree. The response to norepinephrine in wild-type cells was robust ( approximately 10-fold increase in thermogenesis); Ucp1(-/-) cells only responded approximately 3% of this. Ucp1(-/-) cells were as potent as wild-type in norepinephrine-induced cAMP accumulation and lipolysis and had a similar mitochondrial respiratory complement. In wild-type cells, fatty acids induced a thermogenic response similar to norepinephrine, but fatty acids (and retinoate) were practically without effect in Ucp1(-/-) cells. It is concluded that no other adrenergically induced thermogenic mechanism exists in brown adipocytes except that mediated by UCP1 and that entopic expression of UCP1 does not lead to overt innate uncoupling, and it is suggested that fatty acids are transformed to an intracellular physiological activator of UCP1. High expression of UCP2 and UCP3 in the tissue was not associated with an overt innate highly uncoupled state of mitochondria within the cells, nor with an ability of norepinephrine or endo- or exogenous fatty acids to induce uncoupled respiration in the cells. Thus, UCP1 remains the only physiologically potent thermogenic uncoupling protein in these cells. (+info)